To want DSS to eat his packed lunch(52 Posts)
DSS is 6 and is in y2 of KS1. He has extra behavioural needs and can be distracted very easily in class and will attention seek and tantrum.
We have been struggling with him to get him to eat his packed lunches. He does not have a great deal in there (only a wrap, some kind if cheese item an a banana/apple) as was recommended to us by our social worker. But he will still come home from school having only eaten half a wrap, saying he's starving.
AIBU to expect that there should be some level of supervision in the dining hall at school to make sure children are actually eating as this must affect his concentration/behaviour in the afternoons?
lvcat this is why I let dd have lunch some days in the winter so at least i knew she was eating something,
Lv- homemade smoothie/ milkshake is surely ok? If you use uht milk it doesn't have to stay in fridge. Although could put in a thermos cup ( the ones with pop up drinking part). Would he drink say avocado/ banana/ and milk? Maybe with a little honey? Or frozen berries blitzed with milk? Can add tofu for protein if lacking
Could you take him home for lunch? Or even just sit in the car or at the park in summer?
He eats sandwiches at home in fact toasters are his favourite!
A thermos of soup is a good idea now it's cold. Will have to check the schools guidelines. We pretty much have a list of "approved foods" we can send him with and have to stick to that.
Regarding rewards. We have a star chart at home where we write underneath what he gets each star for and he has a "good news book" which travels between here and home to help reinforce good habits and if he's eaten anything in full I always make a point of writing about it in the book with him but he's very apathetic about both things.
if he eats fine at home then he is probably just distracted in the lunch room I think the poster who said about the kids who go to a quieter room is a great idea and ask your school about that,
Thank you all for the advice!
Most of it seems like common sense really.
Will investigate the possibility of having a quieter area for him to eat in.
Is it just the days that you have him that he is not eating?
Does it have to be sandwiches? My ds wouldn't eat these either but he will have all the components as a "deconstructed" sandwich! So the bread or wrap (he won't eat butter or spread); a protein item and some salad or cold cooked vegetables but all separately!!
He lives with us full time and has done since he was 2.5 xx
I think parents worry too much about this stuff. If your son's coming home with a half-eaten wrap, the chances are he's eating quite slowly and stopping when he's no longer hungry. That's intuitive eating and it's a really good thing which should be encouraged. FWIW I was a very slow eater when I was a kid and never finished my plate because I just couldn't. My father went on and on at me for eating slowly and said I should eat really quickly to get it all down whilst it was hot and then I wouldn't waste my food. I now bolt my food, eat far too much of it as a result (because I'm eating so fast my stomach doesn't have time to work out what my mouth's been up to until it's too late) and I'm very overweight. If he stops eating because he's hungry, that's fine, and if he comes home hungry give him a snack then. Don't get adults to hang over him and nag him about his eating. I'm not saying don't have mealtimes or structure, but I will never nag a child to eat if they say they aren't hungry. (If they say they don't want the sandwich but they do want the chocolate, I'd be inclined to conclude that they aren't really hungry )
Spindly- he does this a lot. Will say he's not hungry then ask for something out of the treat cupboard. The little rascal.
We had this with my ds a few years ago, my ds has sn and would sit in the dinner hall to eat his pack lunch but because there was so much noise and a lot going on he struggled to concentrate and focus on eating his pack lunch, I had a word with senco and asked if we could try letting him eat his pack lunch in the classroom instead as it would be quieter and it worked.
As Starfish suggests, perhaps 'deconstruct' the sandwiches? My DS (6) will eat a pot full of cubes of cheese together with a pot of fruit plus a low-protein sandwich like marmite or veggie pate or jam, but will not eat a cheese sandwich. He also prefers a separate felafel in a pot over one in a felafel-hummus sandwich. He will eat bread, through. Perhaps your son would prefer cheese with a pack of oatcakes/low-salt crackers instead of with bread/wrap?
Perhaps also consider occasional nutritious alternatives like mini-quiches, cold pasta salads?
Can you provide him with some element of choice for each day's lunch? DS likes to feel in control, so each morning he gets to choose which of a limited range of available fillings he will have on that particular day. We divide his sandwiches in half, and have a rule that one half can be whatever he wants, and the other has to either be reasonably high in protein or accompanied by a pot of cheese cubes.
Do look carefully about how much is going in to the packed lunch compared to what he will routinely eat comfortably at home. If you add several extras (a whole banana is quite filling) then naturally he'll have less room for the wrap, esp. if he's distracted and wanting to get out to play. Mine doesn't have room for a whole fruit plus his sandwich, so I give him a pot of 'cutted-up' pieces of fruit about equivalent to a small satsuma or 1/3 apple.
Yes maybe ' easy' to eat food.
So fruit cut up in a pot
Cheese in cubes
Some leftover chicken/ ham/ boiled egg cut up in another pot
So he just has to pick the pieces out and eat
My sil has had this with dn since reception, she has no sn, she's now Y4 and still barely eats anything at school lunch.
I think she's made too big a deal out of it with the rewards, threats, no snacks as a punishment, talks about it, pleading, telling off etc etc its become a huge power struggle which she isn't winning, dn is still here and healthy despite minimal lunches on school days.
Eating in a quieter room is a good idea if they have the resources for this but if it was me as long as he's getting a good breakfast and a good meal in the evening I would not make an issue out of lunch at all. Put less in, foods that can be nibbled and a reasonable nutritious snack when he gets home.
My ds is nt but awkward. I have a daily battle with the lunch box.
I go for cooked sausage, cooked pizza, scotch eggs, cheese strings etc for protein. I've even sunk as low as chicken nuggets (naice ones). High points are cooked chicken or chunks of ham. Then I add a pot of jelly with fruit, cucumber sticks etc and a bag of french fries crisps (lowish fat) for some carbs.
I'm not a good mum, and I am not good at the healthy diet, so probably not best advice. Though I do my best.
When I was very poorly and h was in charge of lunchboxes we even sunk so low as the Snack attack packs. DS loved them, but the are @ £1.79 each. Mind you, school are ridiculously lax.
Can you have a bribe for him eating more of his lunch? Like, if he eats his wrap every day for the next week he could get an (inexpensive) action figure he likes?
btw when ds was on school dinners he always came home famished even though he was eating all his lunch. When I got him home I always had a ham sandwich with cucumber sticks or similar ready so he could go straight for something healthy. Would that be a useful alternative?
Another idea (kids can be so weird sometimes, it's worth trying anything!): my DS can sometimes get overwhelmed when he sees too much food on his plate, resulting in him actually eating significantly LESS than he would have if he'd been given a smaller portion. So you might find that if you give him a whole wrap he eats half of it, but if you give him a three-quarters-sized portion he eats it all.
Another thought OP - is he allowed to take a snack? Just thinking you could send the fruit or cheese item in as part of morning snack, then he has less to get through at dinner time?
Sounds perfectly normal for a six year old to me.
You could always get him to eat/finish his fruit at home before cracking out the biscuits.
Last year, my DD had a friend with additional needs but not SN. He had a 'lunch buddy' which was a friend who sat next to him at lunchtime & encouraged him to eat his packed lunch. They also stayed with him until he'd finished. This helped him focus on his lunch rather than getting distracted & not eating. The lunch buddy varied, sometimes it was my DD.
I don't know if this is still in place this year as they are in different classes.
Would something like this help if he needs encouragement & company?
I'm obviously really mean.
I made ds1 & 2 finish their packed lunches when they got home before they could eat anything else.
So if they had 2 sandwiches ie 1 slice of bread folded in 1/2 and cut in 1/2 again they had to eat that before they could have anything else.
So when they were 6 they had 2 sandwiches (as above), some pepper sticks, a yogurt and some grapes or a satsuma.
They usually ate the nice stuff and left the sandwich. So they had to eat the sandwich at home (as long as it wasn't snurped up).
If they did well and ate all their lunch every day, they also had a packet of crips on Friday.
I have experience with a high functioning child with ASD who found eating his lunch difficult.
Firstly, he was given the choice of where to sit- either in the hall (first sitting when it was quieter) or in the classroom with a friend.
Secondly, he had a social story explaining why he needed to eat. He like robots and machinery type things, so we linked it to cars needing fuel and his body running in food.
Thirdly, he had a reward chart, so he brought his lunch box to me each lunch so I could see what he had eaten, and gave him one sticker on his chart for each item eaten- he had a similar lunch box to your sons with just 3 items in.
Spoke to teachers and suggested a "lunch buddy" they said they are going to ask some responsible y6 students to sit on the same table as Ds to help encourage him to eat.
Thanks for all your suggestions going to try a few and see what works.
Tomorrow's lunch is pots of cheese cubes, chopped up sausage rolls (although I'm sure school will deem this "not healthy enough") and some carrot/pepper sticks.
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